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Is clinical examination dead?

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 29 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3442
  1. Kinesh Patel, junior doctor, London
  1. kinesh_patel{at}

“I tried to listen to some heart sounds last week. Couldn’t hear a thing.” So an eminent professor of medicine told me recently. “It’s all quackery, you know.”

This is something I’d thought for a while, but I’d not heard it summed up with such frankness. Although I continue to teach undergraduates the distinction between reverse and fixed splitting of the second heart sound, I have never detected these conditions myself. And I’ve got a strong suspicion that most cardiologists confidently declare “a clear case of a loud …

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